Saftu’s Vavi set to be a thorn in the ANC’s side
The straight facts of the matter are that, through Saftu, Vavi has the ear of 700 000 trade union members.
Zwelenzima Vavi briefs media ahead of the launch of a new South African Federation of Trade Unions at the Birchwood in Boksburg, 20 April 2017. Picture: Neil McCartney
A slumbering giant currently lying supine is about to waken within the hitherto fairly clearly defines of South African politics.
The affirmation of Zwelinzima Vavi as general secretary of newly established South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) at the weekend lends a new dynamic – and, we must add, an unspoken threat – to the hegemony of the ANC government under President Jacob Zuma.
And while Saftu have remained ominously silent on any future political ambitions within the accepted parliamentary process, the rumblings of a labour-orientated political party have been there for some time.
Should this become reality in the run-up to the 2019 general elections, the country’s ruling party is faced with the parlous situation of having two lame duck candidates as the front-runners to becoming the leader of the ANC.
Vice-President Cyril Ramaphosa has a lingering stigma of Marikana still following him like a grim watching spectre in everything he does and is a billionaire in a country where massive inequalities and unemployment sadly remain the reality for a major sector of the citizens.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the former head of the African Union, has little to convince the electorate that she has what it takes to run the country, not least of which is her less than stellar tenure as the chairperson of the continent’s affairs and her failed marriage to the current president. There are also the fears that, if she succeeds, she will be little more than a surrogate for Zuma.
Vavi has already flatly rejected any backing for Ramaphosa, who he branded a capitalist, and given the history of his treatment by the ANC and his vocal criticism of Zuma, any toenadering there must be remote.
The straight facts of the matter are that, through Saftu, Vavi has the ear of 700 000 trade union members – a significant factor in any poll.